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Archive file

VIP 29

                VIP No.29, September 18, 1996
                    Volunteer Information
                  Volunteer Project Pakrac
                         Bolnicka 47
                   34 550 Pakrac, Croatia
                  Tel/fax: +385(0)34-411881
       E-mail:  Volunteers_Pakrac@zamir-pk.ztn.apc.org

Phone Problems

Yes, we are still alive and well here in Pakrac.  And now we
have a phone to prove it.  We have a new office and a new
phone number.  The number is 411-881.  We sent out the wrong
number last month and printed the wrong number in our
project newsletter, Kako Si.  This, understandably, has
created many problems for which we apologize and beg for
your collective forgiveness.  But it would be foolish for
any of us to think a big transition in this town could go

Situation in Town

Autumn comes early to Pakrac.  This is a depressing turn of
events for volunteers dreading a replay of last year's long
and hard winter.  Spring and summer are supposed to last
more than four months aren't they?

Along these autumn lines, the headline of Pakracki List last
week stated "There Will Be Rakija."  It is a great year for
fruit from apples to grapes to, of course, plums.  And it
seems that most of the population is either picking plums or
buying plums to make rakija.  In other agricultural news,
UNOV is taking displaced people to their fields in remote
villages to harvest.

School started as well last week.  The number of children
around is amazing and is a true reflection that people are
finally returning to Pakrac in large numbers.

The elections in Bosnia dominate the news in the rest of the
world.  The refugee elections for Croatia were held a couple
of weeks ago.  The day went relatively smoothly.   A large
number of people were illiterate so could not vote in
secret.  There were hassles with people who had registered
but whose ballots were not available and with people who had
not registered but wanted to vote anyway.  Over 60% of the
refugees from the Republika Srpska (mostly Muslim and Croat)
did not vote because they were frustrated by the choices on
the ballot.

Last Saturday was election day in Bosnia.  The EC monitors
and UNHCR monitored two crossing points near Western
Slavonia, Bosanska Gradiska and Slavonski Brod, between
Croatia and Bosnia.  The Serbians closed the bridge between
Bosanska Gradiska and Stara Gradiska at about 11am and would
let no voters in afterwards.  No violence was reported.

Returnees are still the main game played in Pakrac though.
They continue to trickle in at about ten per week.  The
policy where people could visit for two weeks before
deciding whether to return has been revoked by the UN.  Only
people with full documentation may return and they must be
returning for good.  The only visits will be for special
emergencies such as deaths or illnesses in the family.  Life
for the returnees is predictably not easy.  There are no
jobs, no money, and no opportunities for either.

Volunteer Life

Volunteer life is hard to describe now.  The project is
undergoing a transition period which means a lot of old
people leaving and returning and so on.  And hopefully it
also means new volunteers coming with new energy and ideas.
What it really means is that those who stay for the whole
time get very tired and do a lot of work.

And, as I said above, the transition to our new office
proved to be difficult.  The phone didn't work and the
computer broke down as well crippling our e-mail
capabilities.  The office, in Jan's old house, looks great
though.  We cleaned the big room, put in carpet, moved
furniture, etc..  Just take off your shoes before coming

Financially, even though we are happy with the renewed
fundraising work, the project has never been worse off as
far as paying for the core running costs.  All of the sub-
projects are funded or have equipment and supplies, but it
is hard to find people to pay for pocket money or electric
bills.  But I know this is not anything new.

We did have six kittens at the STV house for the past two
weeks.  We are down to one now (two are in Prekopakra, two
in Karlovac, and one stolen) and are still searching for a
home for her.

Comings and Goings - Stefan and Anissa left on the same day
together on their way first to Poland and then to America
where Stefan is going to go on a speaking tour to fundraise
for the Project.  Celia returned to England for her last
year of university.  Martina has started her new job in
Zagreb.  Marko has to remain full time in Zagreb so can't be
the small repairs volunteer.  Abi (New Zealand), an old
Lipik volunteer, is helping the project out for a month or
so with office work and co-leading.

Volunteer Activities


Workcamp #43, the final workcamp, started at the end of the
first week of September.  We have five volunteers from
America, Sweden, France, Scotland, and New Zealand finishing
up the STV work.  Abi and Nathan are the last co-leaders.
Fitting with the early arrival of autumn, most of the work
so far has involved wood.

Photo Project

Julie returned from France for two weeks to help transition
the photo project to one of the STVs who may potentially
stay.  "New Visions" at the secondary school mean less
access to the darkroom.  We are running low on chemicals as
well.  The new Photo Project volunteer will almost have to
start from scratch after the long summer lull.

E-mail Project

Both Bocian and Burkie are in Pakrac working on e-mail.
Classes are going to start in the secondary school again on
October 4th and they are both continuing to work on
expanding the availability of e-mail in the entire region.

Puppet Theater

Piekna and Ivica returned to get things ready for their new
fall groups.  Piekna will continue to work on the Croatian
side while Ivica is in charge of starting a group on the
Serb side.

Small Repairs

Marko, our ex-small repairs volunteer, had to return to
Zagreb so this sub-project is currently searching for a new
volunteer.  We are also fundraising for small repairs in
hopes of finding funds to hire a local.


Most of our bikes are broken.  The van works great though!

Community Visits

Zdenka continues to work wonderfully with her community
visits.  We are currently awaiting a decision on potential
funding that would allow us to significantly expand the
community visits program (and pay Zdenka regularly).


Kako Si is back!  Yes, the long awaited project newsletter
hit the streets at the beginning of September with 1000
Croatian copies and 500 English ones.  The Croatian copies
were gone in less than two days (amazing what being free
will do) much to our surprise.  The hope is that the wider
Pakrac community will now have a better idea of what the
Project does and where it is trying to go.  We still have
plenty of English copies but not the money to send them out.
Kako Si will be on e-mail soon (though that really isn't the
same thing is it?) and hopefully on a Website sometime this


The project is trying to get good stable momentum on
fundraising for the first time in over a year.  This takes
time though so our financial situation continues to be
rather poor.  The Project hopes that Kako Si and our new six
month interim report will pay off this fall.  The current
goal is to survive the fall and build up stable funding for
the project to move forward in the new year (a long term
goal in Pakrac?  Yes, its true!)


It has been so long since the last VIP I can't remember who
came and went.  Michael from Tools for Reconstruction
currently working in Karlovac visited.  Laura returned with
her father and friends with a convoy.  Tina dropped by.  As
did Lynette and fellow OSCE election monitors.  Annette, the
old UNOV boss, was here as well.  Marcin and Paulina stopped
in Pakrac on the way to Vakuf.  Edin and friends came to
pick them up.  Martina and Zlatko each dropped by at
different times.  The Webers were in Pakrac to start to
organize a tools library.


To Vakopleiding (Dutch company) for the convoy of stuff for
the Project.  It is much appreciated and will be put to good
use.  To the Webers for their support.  To Silvano for
keeping the e-mail working all summer.

Social Life/Gossip

What to say what to say what to say.  I don't know.  Until
the beginning of September there wasn't anyone in Pakrac
really - just three or four of us and a quiet life.  And
since then life has been about returns - Piekna, Ivica,
Bocian, Burkie.  Well, life has also been about absences,
but let's leave that one alone.


printer cartridges or refills for Hewlett Packard Desk Jet
510, scissors, folders, binders, dividers, envelopes, pens,
fax paper

Volunteer Houses
Food of any kind
Tape players/Radios for STVs and LTVs

Spades, shovels, hammers, wheel barrows, stuff for cleaning
bricks, masks, protection glasses, working gloves.

Photo Project
Photographic paper (not multigrade)
Cameras (not full automatic)
Lenses for Pentax
Black&White films

Puppet Theater
Sewing machines
Fabric materials
Wool and yarn
Ornamental items

Please do not send materials or equipment by mail as the
customs is ridiculously high.  Let us know and we can
probably find someone to bring it down here by car or train
or something.

Quote Number One

It is so short and jumbled and jangled, Sam, because there
is nothing intelligent to say about a massacre.  Everybody
is supposed to be dead, to never say anything or want
anything again.  Everything is supposed to be very quiet
after a massacre, and it always is, except for the birds.
And what do birds say?  All there is to say after a
massacre, things like "Poo-tee-weet?"

I have told my sons that they are not under any
circumstances to take part in massacres, and that the news
of massacres of enemies is not to fill them with
satisfaction or glee.  I have also told them not to work for
companies which make massacre machinery, and to express
contempt for people who think we need machinery like that.

--  Kurt Vonnegut in Slaughterhouse Five

Number Two

To be left alone on the tightrope of youthful unknowing is
to experience the excruciating beauty of full freedom and
the threat of eternal indecision.  Few, if any, survive
their teens.  Most surrender to the vague but murderous
pressure of adult conformity.  It becomes easier to die and
avoid conflicts than to maintain a constant battle with the
superior forces of maturity.

-- Maya Angelou in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Pakrac Volunteers - September 18, 1996

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